Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Snow blind and other symptoms of aging

  “Darn it! It’s happened, again,” I thought.
  And it was true.
  It was one of those you-are-not-as-young-as-you-used-to-be moments.
  The time was several years ago and I was at a class reunion.
  My wife was on the dance floor (which keeps one young, by the way), and I was at the bar, being a student of life. We writers do that, though actually for nothing more than to justify hanging out at the bar. (But it does bring to mind an age-old question: Do you think there would have ever been a country music song, if not for barroom napkins? It seems songwriters are always scribbling their lyrics on napkins.)
  Anyway, back to the story.
  The bartender was older than me and she said, “You know, I had my class reunion just last week — my 30th?”
  “Really?” I remember asking. “What’s different from the 30th and the one we are having here?”
  “Oh, everybody is always much more humble…actually, they get a lot more humble,” she laughed. “Age does that to you, you know?”
  “I sure do,” I laughed.
  Those that don’t believe in time travel, have never been to a class reunion. But that is for another column.
  Here, I want to talk about age and the realization that it doesn’t always creep up on you.     Sometimes it chases us down and whacks us in the back the head with painful reminders.
  For example, take the threat and eventual delivery of ice and snow we had a week or so ago.
Sitting there, watching the weatherman threaten to send us all to the grocery for an extra loaf of bread and two gallons of milk, lest we starve, why, I actually wished it wouldn’t snow?
  Say what? Say it ain’t snow… er… I mean so!
  Before I knew what I was thinking, I believe I even said it out loud.
  “Man, I hope we miss all that (bad weather),” is how it spewed forth.
  No sooner had the words slipped out than it hurt my soul.
  “OH MY GOSH! How old have I become?” I pondered.
  In my youth, I spent my entire school year hoping and praying for a snow day.
  And I’ll confess I once eyed anybody that didn’t want a well-deserved snow day with great suspicion(s). Sort of the same way the hippies of the 1960s, never trusted anyone over 30, you know?
  But there I was, sitting in front of the TV, having uttered a definite sacrilege to snow-seeking kids (and some teachers) everywhere.
  What brought me to this feeble state?
  The unrecognized passage of time, I suspect.
  I just looked up one day and I was old and NOT hoping for snow.
  How sad.
  I mean really, a call for “no snow”? What follows? The fear of making and eating snow cream? It’s all down hill. Start hoping it doesn’t snow and you might as well begin the search for a retirement home in Florida.
  (Unfortunately, my Winning-The-Powerball Retirement Plan has yet to pay off, so that is out of the question.)
  But there I was, no doubt now fully prepared to taste a dose of humility at my next reunion…and then…then, it snowed anyway!
  Oh, it was a dusting at best. The kind that only a true Southerner could enjoy. Probably not even enough to scrap together a snow midget, much less full-grown Frosty. But hey, the kids got of school.
  It was mission accomplished as far as the young and young at heart were concerned.
  And on an official “snow day” my son even saw fit to take a year or two off his old man’s scorecard.
  Sniper-like, he hit me with a well-placed snowball that stuck on the back of my neck between my collar and my stocking cap.
  He laughed, and as it melted and ran down my back, I shivered, giggled and complimented the youngster on his aim.
  And then, almost magically, some years melted away. And a little boy, all but lost in this aging body, bent over (and admittedly, groaning a bit a that) scooped up a handful of snow, squeezed it for ballistic purposes and let it fly!
  In the barrage that followed, I watched my breath as an old kid laughed out loud with a young one.
  Forever young?
  Nope, of course not, but it is good to know that we’re always just one good snowball away from feeling like it.

  Taylor Wilson is managing editor at Bill Dance Publishing. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites for over 20 years. He can be reached via e-mail at

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